MONDAY: July 29, 2019: ROOKIE Hawkesbury apprentice Zoe Connally clinched a breakthrough success at Bathurst today at only her third ride – on a horse who ironically also won his first race the second time around.
Connally, 18, gained her licence a fortnight ago and landed the Maiden Handicap (1208m) on $19 chance Jonjo’s Comet for co-trainers Mitch and Desiree Kearney, to whom she is apprenticed.
Making her memorable day even more exciting was the fact her parents Tom and Lisa were on course to watch their daughter make a winning start to her riding career.
“Zoe joined us about three months ago, and it was great to be able to provide her with her first winner,” a delighted Mitch Kearney said this afternoon.
“She is a real hard worker, and deserved this success. If you tell her to be at the stables at 4am, she will be there at 3.45am.
“Zoe gained her licence at the Hawkesbury trials a fortnight ago, and we couldn’t be more pleased for her.”
Connally claimed 3.5kg of her 4kg allowance on Jonjo’s Comet, who was resuming from a spell and had no trouble overcoming a wide run to hold out fellow Hawkesbury rival, the $2.10 favorite Black Star Bowie.
The young jockey made her debut at Goulburn last Monday on Jonjo’s Comet’s stablemate Quick Spin, who finished eighth at as a $9.50 chance, then rode the same horse three days later at Kembla Grange when seventh in a stronger race as an $81 chance.
“We backed Quick Spin up at Kembla because he did so well after Goulburn, and also it helped Zoe get some experience riding in races,” Mitch Kearney said.
Jonjo’s Comet “won” a four-horse 1600m Maiden Handicap at Kembla Grange on December 1 last year on the inaugural Spring Provincial Series program, but lost the race in the stewards’ room.
Stewards concurred with I Arize’s rider Grant Buckley, who alleged interference over the last 75m, and reversed the placings.
Though Jonjo’s Comet was resuming today, not having raced since Orange in mid-February, Team Kearney gave him an excellent winning chance.
“We decided to take the winkers off him, and he went super in a jumpout the other day,” Mitch Kearney said.
“Ironically, Zoe goes with another Hawkesbury apprentice Brandon Griffiths, and has one up on him.
“Brandon rode Jonjo’s Comet when he lost on protest at Kembla Grange.”
. Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Jamie Thomsen also had success today, at the Taree meeting, when the underrated Red Notice ($6) notched back to back wins.
Red Notice (Chris O’Brien) edged out $4.60 favorite Mr Snowman in a tense finish to boost his record to four wins from only 16 starts.
Thomsen has done a superb job with the rising six-year-old, who nearly died 18 months ago when an abscess was discovered in his spleen.
It was Thomsen’s sixth winner this season – Team Kearney made it seven with Jonjo’s Comet’s victory – and the two lifted the number of Hawkesbury winners to 167 in the current racing year, which ends on Wednesday.